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About the 4WD Handbook

on Sat, 22/06/2013 - 20:06

Why this book exists

Now into its second major edition, this book explains how 4WDs work and all the offroad driving techniques you'll need.  It assumes no prior knowledge whatsoever so is accessible to novice offroaders, but has sufficient depth to be an expert offroad reference manual.

 "No book is a substitute for practical experience, but I've pretty much read the4WD Handbook cover to cover and am better for it, picking up useful points and having my memory jogged about others. It was like having a 4WD refresher course withouthaving to go off-road or even sit in a vehicle."

-- Phil Hanson, 4WD Newz

"This book is a must for everyone, from someone who is thinking about buying their first four wheel drive to the experienced four wheel drive instructor."

-- 4WD Victoria, Trackwatch magazine

Just finished reading The 4WD Handbook.  The offroad bible would be better.  In my opinion it is the best off road book I have read and will be recommending it to all my clients. The common sense approach to everything is brilliant. This book should have been over here years ago. All we normally get is someone bigging themselves up. Really enjoyed. Very good effort.

-- Trailmasters International

What's in the 4WD Handbook: a complete 4WD reference and guide

The 4WD Handbook has been meticulously researched and illustrated in full colour to cover everything a driver needs to know about 4WD.  Some topics covered are listed below, and you can also see the full table of contents.



Every driving technique chapter has a section on the environment to supplement a dedicated chapter on the subject. 


How 4WDs work

What a driver need to know.  Differentials, gearing, suspension, power, torque and more.


Wheels and tyres for offroaders

Detailed discussion of tyres, rims, how to choose, low-profile vs high-profile tyres, how tyres work.


Modern vehicles and electronic aids

New vehicles have ETC, ESP, HDC, EBA, EBD, terrain-adaptive settings, torque-vectoring differentials and many more electronic driving aids.  All are explained in a specialised chapter and referred to throughout the book.



A softroader is an offroader without low range. There's a dedicated chapter on softroaders, and each chapter accounts for techniques without low range.


The usual 4WD driving techniques

Mud, rocks, sand, hills and snow are fully described with a chapter apiece.


More 4WD driving techniques

Dedicated chapters on night, long-distance, bitumen, economy, sideslopes, grass, car control, dirt roads.

Offroad trailer techniques

Comprehensive how-to on trailer driving in very rough conditions.


4WD Recovery techniques

How to plan a recovery, then how to carry one out with snatch straps, jacks and other recovery gear like traction mats.


4WD Recovery loads

Comprehensive discussion of what loads are involved in recovery using both theory and the results of real-world tests.



Detailed description of winching physics, forces involved, how to winch, types of winches.

4WD Accessories and modifications
A comprehensive list of modifications and accessories for a touring offroader with notes on why you'd need it, what to look for, and how it works.

Choosing a vehicle

Which 4X4 should I buy and why?  Wagons, utes, luxury, softroaders compared and constrated.

Driving unfamiliar vehicles

How to learn a 4X4 you've never used before.


700-term automotive and 4X4 glossary

Just about every 4WD term is defined and cross-referenced.  Available online only.

Book information

TitleThe 4WD Handbook
The complete guide to how 4WDs work and how to drive them offroad
ISBNISBN-13: 978-1-922131-58-4
AuthorRobert Pepper
PublisherWoodslane / Boiling Billy
Publication dateEdition - 1 2010, revised 2012, Edition 2 - 2014
RevisionsMore detail on the Versions page

AU $ 44.95

NZ $ 54.95


Full colour illustrations throughout

Size: 220 x 190 x 35mm